Tips for Effective Co-Parenting with Your Ex
By Donald Swanson
Unfortunately, you and your spouse got divorced recently. Maybe you’re actually feeling happier these days, or perhaps you are craving for what once was. In any case, you have the children to think about. It might be easier to do everything by yourself and leave your ex out of any decisions, but co-parenting is often what’s best for the children.
The Blame Game
You want your children to have respect for you and listen to the rules in your house, right? Well, that’s not likely to happen if your ex is talking poorly about you behind your back. If you sense that’s happening, you’ll need to have a little chat with him or her. On the other side of the coin, you need to avoid speaking negatively about your ex in front of your children too. You wouldn’t want karma to come after you now, would you?
It’s likely that your children might have a bedtime that’s slightly earlier or later at your ex’s house. Ultimately, there are some battles that are not worth fighting. However, in certain situations, the two of you need to be in agreement. For example, the arrangement is not going to work if you both have different rules regarding dating, staying over friends’ houses or going in the car with other teenage drivers. When it comes to more serious situations, you’re going to have to find ways to compromise.
Perhaps the reason why you got divorced in the first place was because no communication existed in your relationship. As a result, it’s going to be really hard to communicate once you have divorced. You simply have to though. Let’s say that there is an ongoing problem at school with your son. His father sees him only on the weekends, so he has no idea about it. You need to let him know. There could be issues going on at his father’s house that are contributing to the problem, or his father might have an idea as to how it can be fixed.
Try not to make every single dance recital and soccer game a competition over who is going to attend. In the beginning, it might be rough to have to be in the same room as him or her. It’s also likely that you’re never going to be sitting right next to each other or strolling in arm and arm. However, that doesn’t mean that civility goes right out the window. Attend the events when you’re able to make regardless of whether or not your spouse is going. Some people even find themselves attending such events with their new spouses because they have learned how to avoid awkwardness.
Co-parenting isn’t easy; we aren’t going to sugarcoat it. As you go on though, you’ll find that it does become easier as you progress. Remember how much your children are going to benefit from seeing that people can work together and from having you both in their lives.
Donald Swanson writes about parenting, personal finance & self-help at http://www.homeequityloan.net.
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